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Geological, Hydrological and Landform Features
The area to the north of Churchill Island is a significant intertidal mudflat, as is much of Western Port, and is derived largely from material that has washed into the bay from surrounding land. The seagrasses within the bay trap sediment and cause it to build up. Being made of finely divided particles the mud is thick and lacks aeration, the result of which is black mud with a strong sulphur smell, indicating the anaerobic conditions below the surface. For animals and plants to survive in this environment they must have burrows to allow fresh sea water to bring oxygen to them, or have specialised parts of their bodies, such as the breathing roots or pneumatophores of mangroves, to allow tem to breathe air from the surface. The raised beach between Chambers Point and Long Point and the adjacent Churchill Island is a remnant of times when sea levels were higher than at present such as occurred between 6,000 and 8,000 years before present. Major sea level changes associated with various ice ages have occurred four times over the last 125,000 years and evidence of these changes can been in places such as these. The raised beach is of State geological and geomorphological significance.
For your own safety, only undertake activities appropriate to your skills and abilities. Take all necessary precautions, be aware of changing conditions, and watch for potential hazards, such as rips. A number of Victorian marine animals are potentially harmful if not treated with respect and care, so ensure that you familiarise yourself with these species. Sunburn and hypothermia are also potentially harmful but easily avoided. SCUBA diving is a potentially high risk activity and should only be undertaken by appropraitely qualified people that have completed recognised training and certification. Victoria's cool water environments can be extremely challenging to those used to diving in warmer waters so ensure that local knowledge is sought before undertaking a dive in a new location. Dive charter operators can provide some of the best advice on diving in Victoria.